South End man worries for Ukraine family

South End man worries for Ukraine family

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by BEN THOMPSON / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Follow: @BenTNews | Email

WCNC.com

Posted on March 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 5 at 7:00 PM

CHARLOTTE, NC – Petro Martynyuk gets his news these days via Skype.

“Can you see me? Can you hear me?” he said, as the program connected online.

Martynyuk was chatting with his father, who lives in the western part of Ukraine.  His dad was updating him about the latest news as the country falls into turmoil, and Russia moves troops inside Ukrainian borders.

“What's the latest on Crimea,” Martynyuk asked, before the father and son drifted off into Ukranian.

Martynyuk said it’s heartbreaking to watch the country he loves go through crisis.  He believes the death of dozens of protesters in February and the eventual ouster of the country’s Prime Minister is bringing Ukraine together.

“It’s tragic and it’s very painful that over 100 people have been killed a few weeks ago.  But what it did to my nation, and the Ukrainian people, is something that nobody expected; it united people of cultures, races, of all languages.”

Now he believes that same resolve will serve Ukrainians against perceived Russian aggression.

“If we are provoked and if we're attacked, Ukrainians will not be afraid to die."

Martynuk moved to the U.S. 13 years ago with his mother and brother, leaving other family and friends behind.  Initial adjustment was difficult, but after becoming a citizen and a successful career in finance, he’s living the American dream. He and his partner launched their own sports nutrition company, Eat the Bear, based in South End.  

“The saying comes from a friend of ours who had Leukemia who used to say sometimes, 'you eat the bear, and sometimes the bear eats you.’”

He wants that same opportunity for success and happiness for his family in Ukraine.

"I would love for my family, and my friends, and Ukrainian people, get at least a glimpse of hope.”

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